Toshi saw "E.T." when he was too young to process it.
I wasn't the one who showed it to him. It was while he was away in Argentina with his mom for six months. There were only six movies at the house where they were staying, and "E.T." dubbed into Spanish was one of them. And during that six months, while he was going nuts from lack of things to watch, "E.T." became a mainstay. My wife says it must have been played at least 20 times, but this summer, when we were talking about the film, I realized that he remembers none of it.
Allen also felt like he had a handle on the film, and when I asked him what he knew about the movie, he told me, "That's the movie about the guy who is from outer space and he poops candy." I feel like that's not entirely accurate.
The Blu-ray showed up here at the house between my trips to Toronto and Austin, and both of the boys were eager to see the movie again. We haven't done that yet, but it's on the agenda for October. In the meantime, while I was gone on my second trip, Universal invited us to participate in a special "E.T." press day, and I talked to my wife about her taking the boys since I wouldn't be back in time.
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Toshi saw "E.T." when he was too young to process it.
Earlier this afternoon I had a quick lunch with "Bernie" director Richard Linklater and star Jack Black. Millennium Entertainment has the duo in town for a few days hitting the east coast post-DVD circuit, trying to ride some of the buzz on the film and particularly Black's performance and find a little room in the season. They could get there, at least with the Independent Spirit Awards and maybe the Golden Globes.
I'll post the full interview in a few days, but in the meantime, a couple of nuggets about this and that. Like, for instance, Black's first exposure to Linklater's work. Like most, it was the director's debut feature film "Slacker," which, along with Steven Soderbergh's "sex, lies and videotape," was a harbinger of the 1990s independent film explosion. The film also celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. For Black, though, it was also revelatory of a whole community that, for a young actor working the audition circuit, seemed like a truly inspiring place.
I'm a sucker for Christmas music. I marvel every year on how holiday album sales go, which songs get a redux from popular artists, how new originals reflect the immediacy of our times. Christmas carols, hymns and songs are not only written with a sense or urgency -- due to the season and any religious connote -- but are frequently performed and delivered with an affecting earnestness, that even the sarcastic odes or parodies are dropped with a sense of projected purpose. Christmas music has weight, and its performers are allowed to indulge.
Sufjan Stevens' first boxed set of Christmas music was five discs long, and was a collection of EPs and long-players intended for dispersal to family and friends from 2001 to 2006. And it sounded that way. Stevens already has this bright-eyed, left-of-center innocence to his voice, and classic anthems on acoustic and banjo is already so divine. His Christian roots also plays into the authentic selection, when he recorded non-Christmas hymns like "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Come Thou Fount" to include instead of non-religious regulars like "Jingle Bell Rock" or its ilk. He, of course, included some obnoxious and cheeky originals like "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!" and "Did I Make You Cry on Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It!)." (You can tell those, by the excess exclamation points.)
The singer-songwriter will be releasing another new set of Christmas albums, a collection of those from 2007-2012, under the boxed name "Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10." These, too, were originally released to family and friends. Some of the individual titles (and their respective covers) have dipped into the "silly" costume box, including "Christmas Infinity Voyage," "I Am Santa's Helper" and "Christmas Unicorn."
It never made sense to me that ESPN decided to ditch the "30 for 30" documentary name. Yes, Bill Simmons had come up with the idea to celebrate the network's 30th anniversary. But the original run of "30 for 30" films ran well into ESPN's 31st anniversary year, and sometimes, a brand name transcends its literal meaning. (20th Century Fox didn't suddenly change to 21st Century Fox, for instance.) When "30 for 30" ended, ESPN continued to put out some good documentaries under the "ESPN Films Presents" banner, but they appeared irregularly, you couldn't set a DVR season pass for them, and it didn't have that same cumulative feeling that the original series had. I made a point to watch nearly all the "30 for 30" docs (skipping the Red Sox one for partisan reasons and missing one or two others due to scheduling), and that same completist's impulse simply wasn't there for the "ESPN Films Presents" movies that followed.
HBO has renewed "Boardwalk Empire" for a fourth season.
The Prohibition era gangster drama hasn't been the awards juggernaut HBO might have hoped for (though it was a surprise winner for the Emmy drama directing award this year, even without Martin Scorsese behind the camera), but it's been a solid hit, with the pay cable channel estimating that 7.2 million people have watched the third season premiere on various platforms.
“Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese and the rest of their outstanding team continue to produce a stunning show thatnever fails to surprise and entertain,” HBO president Michael Lombardo said in a statement. “We are excited to bring this unique series back for a fourth season.”
While I was at Fantastic Fest last week, "Holy Motors" screened five or six times, and they kept adding screenings later in the schedule. It was wildly impressive to see how many people fell in love with the film. It's not an easy movie. It's not a movie that will ever play on 3000 screens at one time. But it's a gorgeous movie, a big beautiful drunken dream of a movie, and I love that people are responding to it.
The movie's going to be opening in the US soon, in limited release, and when the film's publicists asked if I wanted to be the first one to present the poster to you, I jumped. Selling a movie like "Holy Motors" is a real test, because it doesn't offer anything like a conventional plot, and it's not particularly star-heavy. Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue both appear in it, and Minogue is great in it. The film belongs to Dennis Levant and Edith Scob, and it's the most amazing duet of the year, a dance between these two great actors. Scob is part of France's film history, and I can't think of a better way to wrap up an iconic career of performances than in a film about the power of icons and performance.
Lift your skinny fists, Godspeed fans. The Montreal-based sonic boom of a band will be dropping their first album in more than 10 years, with only a two-week wait.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor last released "Yanqui U.X.O." in November 2002, and it was only one of four studio sets the rockers have dropped. Now, "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!" is due on Oct. 16 in the U.S., with the promise of the "dark" sound matter that made the band pop, whether live or through headphones.
"The future looks dark indeed, but on the evidence of this new recording, Godspeed appears wholly committed to staring it down, channeling it, and fighting for some rays of sound (and flickers of light) that feel hopeful and true," reads a statement in the release.
The songs were formed out of seeds from before their 2003 hiatus; they fleshed them out starting after they reformed in 2010 for select live shows. What exactly that sounds like may be their artful blend of drone, repetition, LOUDquietLOUD, pulsing intergalactic guitar coitus, but the release went more out of its way to explain why the band isn't investing in the whole three-month album promotional cycle.
A quick review of last night's "Revolution" coming up just as soon as I Shawshank my way out of here...
Just yesterday, I was talking about the likelihood of 8 year-old Quvenzhane Wallis becoming the youngest Best Actress nominee on record -- but she's not the only child actor making waves this year. TV critic Mary McNamara goes so far as to label 2012 "the year of the kid," citing a number of young small-screen talents, alongside Wallis and "Moonrise Kingdom" leads Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, as proving the universal storytelling power of "the shared experience of childhood." Not mentioned in her piece, but tying into her argument are Best Actor hopeful Tom Holland from "The Impossible," and two young standouts from foreign Oscar contenders: Berlinale Best Actress winner Rachel Mwanza in "War Witch" and Kacey Mott Klein in "Sister." What others? [LA Times]
A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I name your lady parts...
While you’re losing it over that Frank Ocean album, another set this year can scratch that itch, and perhaps more efficiently.